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ICFE eNEWS #16-18 - June 27th 2016

Brookings Institution Study: Healthcare Single Most Prevalent Area for Data Breaches

By Yan Ross, Director of Special Projects, ICFE

According to a recent Brookings Institution study, healthcare data breaches are on the rise. Some 23 percent of all data breaches occur in healthcare and have impacted 155 million Americans in almost 1,500 breaches in the past six years.

Despite measures to promote greater public awareness, increased security measures, and rising government fines, the total number of breach victims tripled in the last two years alone. Part of this growth is attributable to the high per-record cost of loss for healthcare data breaches: $363, the highest of any industry in the survey, and the black-market value of this information.

The author, Niam Yaraghi, a fellow with Brookings' Center for Technology Innovation, interviewed 22 IT leaders within healthcare provider and insurance companies. Among his conclusions: healthcare data is more valuable than many other forms of personal identification because information such as birth dates, Social Security and insurance ID numbers don't change, and criminals can charge premium prices on the black market.

According to the study, the proliferation of sharing digitized personal health data among insurers and other providers contributes to the likelihood of breaches. It appears that federal health agencies encourage the sharing of electronic health records before providers and payers put adequate security measures in place, with particular concern about concentrating on cybersecurity issues.

According to the author, it's unrealistic to expect small community hospitals to devote the resources to combat well-funded and determined criminal organizations intent on breaching their data, particularly when large national banks, retail chains and even the federal government have been hacked. Nonetheless, "that should not prevent hospitals from keeping their systems updated and avoiding the kinds of human errors responsible for most data breaches," Yaraghi said.

He also pointed out that healthcare organizations can adopt better practices and policies to prevent lost laptops, misplaced hard drives and employees clicking on suspicious files hiding malware and spyware. His recommendations include healthcare organizations prioritizing patient privacy and protecting it. At the very least, healthcare firms should share information about data breaches and exchange best practices and lessons learned.

Two other points were emphasized by the author:

  • Healthcare organizations should invest in cyber insurance, though the market for such products may not offer coverage for all situations.
  • The HHS Office for Civil Rights, which is charged with investigating healthcare data breaches, should better disseminate information about its audits and investigations. Government-imposed penalties for healthcare data breaches are not adequate to solve the problem; more guidance on how to prevent and remediate breaches is more appropriate.

More information is posted online.

The ICFE's Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist® XV CITRMS® course is now available both in printed format and online.

The Textbook and Desk Reference edition of the course book is also available online. Bulk pricing and discounts for veterans and students available. Inquire at yan.ross@icfe.info

Yan Ross Bio PhotoYan Ross is ICFE's Director of Special Projects, and the author of the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course. As an accredited educator for over 20 years, he has addressed Identity Theft Risk Assessment and management for consumers, organizations holding personally identifiable information, and professionals who work with individuals and organizations who are at risk of falling victim to identity thieves.


Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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